Merry Christmas!


We want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas! Take time to appreciate the true meaning of the season.  Enjoy your family and friends!

Merry Christmas

Reneca and Kalisha


Snack Time’s New Best-Friend!

One of the most important things that I pack in my diaper bag besides diapers is snacks. There have been times when my bag has been packed full of  Tupperware’s  filled with crackers, goldfish, grapes, blueberries, cheese and there have even been times when I have brought along a cup of applesauce. The applesauce in a cup only worked a few times, but the spoons that were packed ended up in the bottom of the bag all crummy and a little gross I have to admit. Actually, I do remember one time when Journey and Faith shared applesauce at the park with a friend from the park and they ended up sick. Not good.

 Being prepared is key and now there is an easier way to carry yummy healthy snacks to go. We discovered Smashies! And just like the name says you smash these little green packets of applesauce straight into your mouth–just like those yogurt tubes, but still with less mess.

From the first time the girls tried them they were completely stuck! With their mouths plastered to the Smashies and then their cheeks full of good ole Snappy Apple applesauce.

Mmmm! Smashies!

Mmmm! Smashies!

Smashies are so much better than good ole applesauce because it is;

Certified USDA Organic, Kosher, Gluten Free, with No animal bi-products, is a no mess snack that is great to go and it is made with only three ingredients! Just like homemade!

  1. Organic apple puree
  2. Organic apple flavor and
  3. Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and nothing else. NO preservatives, NO added High Fructose Corn Syrup or Sugar.

Tell me that isn’t amazing! I even tasted them and they taste sooo super sweet, but there isn’t any added sugar and it is easy to swallow (not chunky at all).


As you can see Smashies is kid-tested and Mother approved! Here are some interesting facts about Smashies and when you are done reading–go on out and get your own! They are super affordable–pricing at about $1 a pouch!

  • The Smashies packaging was inspired by NASA!
  • Smashies is a 100% kid inspired name!
Smashies are good!
Smashies are good!

Thank you Smashies for opening our eyes to the evolution of applesauce!

Hal Moose from Build-A-Bear

Just a couple of days ago we received our Hal Moose from Build-A-Bear Workshop. The box was waiting for them this morning when they woke up. Once the box was opened Journey pulled out Hal, who is a very cuddly soft Moose with light up antlers. Even though he came au natural, Hal and his Sis Holly can also be dressed in the “latest furbulous seasonal fashions.”

Faith checking out the light up antlers!

Faith checking out the light up antlers!

I told the girls that it came from Santa’s Elves (Thanks Build-A-Bear Workshop!) They were excited to see that Santa’s Elves also brought them a “Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure”  book and left them some yummy M & M cookies too.

Journey and Faith have really taking a liking to Hal Moose; they even took him with us to the Post Office as well as being played with all over the house. He has been initiated into Journey’s heart by quietly and patiently allowing her to dress him up like a princess. I had to remind her that he was a boy moose and probably didn’t like wearing pink dresses!

Build-A-Bear created this new holiday story to inspire kids of all ages to believe in their dreams, “Holly and Hal Moose: Our Uplifting Christmas Adventure.” Find out if this sibling duo is able to work together to save Christmas and their friendship with Santa in time for his famous flight. This book is FREE when you buy both Holly and Hal Moose at only $12 each. The book is also sold separately at $15.99. Build-A-Bear Workshop is the perfect place to go if you are still struggling to find the perfect gift without breaking the bank. There are over 30 furry friends for you to choose from and so many ways to personalize them too! What kid wouldn’t want a new soft and cuddly buddy?!

Hal Moose

Hal Moose

I love that Build-A-Bear Workshop helps families to make special one-of-a-kind gifts and that they are starting such a sweet holiday tradition with the introduction of Holly and Hal Moose. We live so far away from my family and with the passing of Brett’s Grand-parents a lot of our holiday traditions have been some old ones combined with  new family traditions. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to create a new holiday tradition in our family with the coming of Hal Moose. Each year we will surprise the girls with a visit and a special gift from “Santa’s Elves”–in return for their letter’s to Santa. I’m sure that they will enjoy reading their Holly and Hal Moose storybook for many years to come. We already have a favorite Christmas movie and now this new storybook will become a treasured Christmas Eve bedtime story!

Journey and Faith sharing a story together!

Journey and Faith sharing a story together!

Build-A-Bear Workshop also provided a $10 Build-A-Bear giftcard to share with one of you! But we will be hosting a giveway for the giftcard  right after Christmas, so come back next week and check for that!

Shoot for the Moon!

Written by: Reneca

I am reading a really great book called Think & Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill.  Although the book was written in 1937, the information in it is still very relevant to today.  Like everything, success starts in the mind; this is the primus of this book.  There is a section in the book on self-confidence, which I feel has a great deal of power.  In affect it is a contract with yourself, to be dedicated to your success. Check it out for yourself and let me know what you think. 



Self-Confidence Formula

First.  I know that I have the ability to achieve the object of my definite purpose I life.  Therefore, I demand of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.

Second. I realize the dominating thoughts of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action, and gradually transform themselves into physical reality.  Therefore, I will concentrate my thoughts for thirty minutes daily upon the task of thinking of the person I intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear mental picture of that person.

Third.  I know through the principle of autosuggestion, any desire that I persistently hold in my mind will eventually seek expression through some practical means of attaining the object back of it.  Therefore, I will devote ten minutes daily to demanding of myself the development of self-confidence.

Fourth.  I have clearly written down a description of my definite chief aim in life, and I will never stop trying until I shall have developed sufficient self-confidence for its attainment.

Fifth.  I fully realize that no wealth or position can long endure, unless built upon truth and justice.  Therefore, I will engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects.  I will succeed by attracting to myself the forces I wish to use, and the cooperation of other people.  I will induce others to serve me, because of my willingness to serve others.  I will eliminate hatred, envy jealousy, selfishness, and cynicism, by developing love for all humanity, because I know that a negative attitude toward others can never bring me success.  I will cause others to believe in me, because I will believe in them, and in myself.

                I will sign my name to this formula, commit it to memory, and repeat it aloud once a day, with full faith that it will gradually influence my thoughts and actions so that I will become a self-reliant and  successful person.



“To get what you have never had, you must do what you have never done.”
                                                                                                Author Unknown

If we could apply just these principles of self-confidence, just think of all the positive energy that would be flowing around us. 

I hope you all shoot for the moon (with your goals) and know that at the very least you’ll fall amongst the stars!!!!

Have a great weekend!

Much Love 





W is for Whale

w_zoe  Now let’s work on the letter W. There are so many fun crafts and activities you can do on the letter W, here are just a few.

·         Have fun working on one of these printable W worksheets.        

 ·    Sing a fun songs about the weather

·         Speaking of weather, this is great time to explore the weather more in depth.  Talk about what the weather is like where you are. 

·         Learn, while doing science.

·         Play

Waiter, Waiter

·         Children take turns ordering W foods.

·         Have each child begin with the phrase:

Waiter, Waiter I would like waffles for my dinner tonight.”

·         Have each child choose a different W food to order.

·         Make a list of W foods first, with pictures, if your children have trouble with this game.

·         Here are a few W foods:

Waffles                                                                Wafers

Watermelon                                       Walnuts

Whipping cream                               Wedding cake

Wraps                                                   Watercress

·         Why not play in the water?  (You could even let your kids play out side in a pool, if it’s warm.  If it’s freezing, put their swimsuits on and let them play in the bath tub!)

o    Explore how water helps us, such as; to drink, to cool off, to wash, as a home for fish.

o    Make some water instruments.

o    Experiment with a water wheel.

o    Measure water with measuring cups.


v  For your W page:  Use the Coloring sheet above and cut and paste different animals and foods that start with the letter W.


Stuffed Paper Bag Whale

What you need:

·         Paint- blue or gray (tempera, poster, or acrylic paints all work well)

·         Paper lunch bag

·         Newspaper

·         Blue construction paper

·         Elastic band or masking tape

·         Scotch tape

·         Glue

·         Black Marker

·         Optional: wiggly eyes


·         Stuff paper bag with shredded newspaper, leaving about 3 inches unstuffed.

·         Scrunch the top together and wrap an elastic band or masking tape around to seal.  

o   The stuffed part is the body of the whale.  

o   The end (top of the bag) is the tail.

·         Paint the paper bag, including the tail, a whale color (blue or grey) or even black and white for an orca whale.  You don’t need to paint the bottom of the whale (the tummy).

·         While your bag is drying… Cut out flipper shapes from shapes from the blue construction paper.




·         Cut a rectangle from the blue construction paper and cut slits in it (see the dotted lines below)



·         Roll the piece around a pencil and tape it to make a tube (the spout of the whale)

Once bag is dried

      ·          Scotch tape or glue the flippers  to the paper bag (I usually glue them  to the tummy).  

·         You can poke a hole in the top of the bag with a pencil and squish the bottom of the spout in there and then apply scotch tape as needed.

·         Use a black marker to draw on eyes and a nose (or use wiggly eyes or round stickers).

Whale Piñata:

You can add wrapped candy to the stuffing and then allow the kids to break open their whales with a stick (like a piñata).  Having said that, the kids may grow so attached to their creations that they don’t really have the heart to break them.



Letter X…always a tricky little letter. Nothing rhymes and the poor letter only has a few words to call its own…I could only think of Xylophone!

Letter X is the proud leader of these words:


Xylophone (knew that one!)

Xiphias Gladius (which is short for swordfish!)

Very interesting…Now that we have learned some new X words I would still like to stick with the favorite X word of the day; Xylophone. Here is a perfect craft for us today since it is cloudy, gloomy and rainy. Let’s get crafty!

This craft is from one of my favorite online resources for Preschool Activities and Crafts:

Xylophone Craft

What you need:

  • You can print out the exact template here or
  • Use colored construction paper cutouts
  • Glue
  • Crayons, markers,…glitter (to give it pizazz!)
  • Scissors

What to do:xylophone_craft

  • Follow the instructions on the online template version
  • Use colored construction paper and cut out rectangle “bars” for the xylophone. Oh heck! Just go on and use the template…so much easier!
  • You can let your preschooler cutout their own shapes (with your supervision).

What did you learn?

Color discussion:  Discuss and identify each color bar.  Example:  Hold a color bar and say:   What color is this?  Yes, yellow.  What other things are yellow.  How about the sun or a lemon.  

Shape – The rectangle.  For this activity we can focus on the rectangle shape of each color bar.  Discuss that the color panels are rectangles (two long sides and two short sides).   Have the children find other things around them that are rectangles – a door, a refrigerator, window, area rug or table. 
Alphabet Letter X –  Each color bar displays two letter X’s, discuss and identify the X.  Display the Xylophone poster and say that xylophone starts with the letter X.  Conduct a separate activity for letter X.  During the craft assembly the mallets glued over the assembled xylophone to form an X as illustrated.
Counting & Sizing:  Have the children count and organize the color bar rectangles in size sequence from shortest to longest.  Ask which bar is the shortest?  Which is the longest?
————-This craft is a great one to use for your Letter X page. Since the mallots crossing the Xylophone make the shape of the X.


  • How else should you spend your Letter X day? You could sing songsand pretend to be a Xiphias Gladius (swordfish).
  • Play the X marks the spot game (great for a rainy day inside!)

Talk to your children about how treasure maps show where the treasure is marked with an X. Then give them a treasure map of a room in your house and let them find the treasures. For added effect put a big X made from tape on the spot where the treasure (cookies or cake for snack) is. That sounds like a lot of fun! Journey and Faith love pretending pirates and that pirates ships are after them. We throw “noonies” and cookies at the pirates to get them to leave us alone. We all know how grumpy we get when we’re hungry–we assume the pirates are mean and grumpy because they just want to eat! HA!

  •  A great free-fun idea for X-day is to ask a local physician or dentist for old x-rays to show your child(ren). It would be really interesting to look at other people’s bones and teeth!

Alright…I’m running out of X ideas! If you have any ideas or suggestions we would love to hear from you–especially if you have any more X ideas. Tricky little letter!

 Have a great day!
Reneca and Kalisha


It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Journey "Diva" Santa

Journey "Diva" Santa

Banana Bread Holiday Cutouts

Banana Bread Holiday Cutouts

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…daaa da da da daaa!”…I never remember that second line! Dang-it!

Above is the Banana Bread that I made to take to the Holiday Party last Thursday. It went really well–it worked out perfect because the actual playground was closed for maintenance so it was a great time to hang out in the grass and let the kids color and eat snacks. The party was low key with people stopping by throughout to drop off their donations. Along with our toy donation I also went through the girls playroom and they gave an old toy also.

Our decorations are finally up…Our stockings (Mine, Faith, Daddy, Journey and Sterling) are hung on the fireplace.

Stockings ready for stuffing!

Stockings ready for stuffing!

 Santa is hanging out at our house till Christmas…he has to keep a close watch on Journey and Faith–to find out who is naughty and who is nice since they both point the finger at each other!

Jolly ole Saint Nick!

Jolly ole Saint Nick!

 A few Christmas ornaments and Brett’s Christmas keepsake; a little red boot with his name painted on top. He has had it since he was a little boy–so sweet! The starfish are beach bum ornaments from last year made by Nana. This year they received two little plush angels in gold and silver.

Christmas treasures...

Christmas treasures...

 I found this beautiful ornament for mine and Brett’s first Christmas together…way back in 2004…it only seems like yesterday…who am I kidding?! It feels like more than 4 years, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Our First Christmas!

Our First Christmas!

I had to rescue Freddy from outside on Sunday. It rained all night and when I went outside in the morning I saw him swimming frantically in his cage because the rain made the water level rise and he couldn’t climb up on his rock! I felt so bad, so I had to bring him in. Now he is happier–I think he missed us.
Turtles love Christmas!

Turtles love Christmas!

And if you aren’t tired of my amateur photos then I have a couple more. I wanted to take it back to Christmas ’07…when Journey and Faith were 1 year smaller…I like to reminisce…
Faith's 1st Christmas!

Faith's 1st Christmas!Journey (23 months)


Menu Plan Monday-Dec. 15

Reneca’s Menu Plan:

b-Cream of wheat, with strawberries
l-grilled cheese, carrot sticks and dipping sauce
d-veggie spaghetti

b-Peach baby cakes
l-egg nest
d-Mini-hamburgers, mixed baby green salad with apples

b-stuffed french toast
l-home made corn dogs, sweet potato fries, and peas
d-kappa rolls and egg rolls

b-Spinach quiche
l- Sun Flower seed butter and jelly, broccoli salad with grapes
d-L O buffet

b-Apple crepes, with yogurt filling
l-biscuit cheese pizza, with pureed squash and sweet potato in sauce
d- Back by popular demand:  Fondue!

b-cranberry pancakes
l-cream cheese quesadillas, with tomato, orange salsa
d-chicken potato soup

b-???Duan’s morning to cook!!! (I get to sleep in a bit!)
l-Egg salad sandwiches
d- Dinner at the Ruff’s


Kalisha’s Menu Plan:


  • Cheesy Scrambled Eggs and Bacon with Fruit
  • Cinnamon Oatmeal with Strawberries
  • Crepe and Sausage Rolls with Fruit
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Quick Jam Turnovers

Lunch: (All lunches include a side of Fruit and/or Veggie)

  • Mac and Cheese with Wienies
  • Turkey and Cheeses Sandwhiches
  • Tuna Melt
  • Chicken Nuggets and Baked Potato Fries
  • Leftovers…


  • Best-Ever Hamburgers, Corn and Roasted Potatoes
  • Pizza in a Roll
  • Speedy Potato Soup with Cheesy Rolls
  • Salmon with Creamy Cucumber Sauce and Fettuccine
  • Creamy Chicken and Ham Bake with Brocolli

See more Menu Plan’s at OrgJunkie!

Would you like have a menu plan date and have what we’re having for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Well, today is you lucky day! lol…Here are a couple of recipes for you to try along with me:

Simple Cinnamon Rolls

  • 2 1/4 C. Biscuit Mix (or make your own using
  • 2/3 C. Milk
  • 1/4 C. Sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. Cinnamon
  • 6 t. Melted butter
  • 1/2 C. Chopped Nuts
  • 1/2 C. Raisins

Beat biscuit mix and milk together with a fork until dough is stiff; knead on floured surface about 12 times, or until dough is smooth. Roll our into rectangle. Spread with half the melted butter; sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nuts, and raisins. Roll dough up tightly and press to seal. Cut into 10 slices. Place rolls close together on a greased cookie sheet and brush with rest of melted butter. Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly golden. Yum! Can’t wait to try that one!


Salmon with Creamy Cucumber Sauce and Fettuccine

  • 8 oz. Fettuccine
  • 1 C. Plain Yogurt
  • 1 T. Flour
  • 1 T. Chopped fresh or 1 t. dried Dill Weed
  • 1 t. Horseradish
  • 1 medium unpeeled cucumber, seeded, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 can (6oz) skinless boneless pink salmon, drained, flaked

Cook and drain fettuccine as directed on package. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, mix yogurt and flour. Stir in dill weed and horseradish. heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until hot (do not boil). Stir in cucumber and salmon. Serve over fettuccine. (Makes 4 servings)